Coalition Aims for Criminal-Justice Reform in MT Legislative Session
Monday, November 30, 2020
HELENA, Mont. -- Groups from across the political spectrum are coming together to push for criminal-justice reform during the Montana legislative session.
The Montana Coalition for Public Safety formed after President Donald Trump signed the First Step Act, enacting reforms on the federal level.
David Herbst, state director of the conservative, free-market group Americans for Prosperity-Montana, says his group and the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana connected to pursue reform on the state level.
"I think people misunderstand, often, the moment that we're in," Herbst noted. "Everyone looks at the increasing partisanship, but assumes that means increasing division between ideas, and that's just simply not true."
The coalition also includes Disability Rights Montana, the Montana Chamber of Commerce, Montana Racial Equity Project and others.
About 17,000 Montanans are behind bars or under criminal-justice supervision, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.
Herbst added the coalition has a number of policy goals for the upcoming session, but one of the top priorities is collecting more data about the criminal-justice system.
"The justice system is like a very large beast that is not well understood often by even the people trying to advance policy in there," Herbst observed. "So we have a study bill that we'd like to do on data transparency."
The coalition also wants to shorten the time folks are beholden to the system. Herbst explained that includes pre-trial reforms so that more people can stay in their communities, as well as changes to the parole system.
"That's kind of shortening the circumstances in which people are on parole because one of the number one reasons why people recidivate and go back to prison is usually parole violation," Herbst concluded.
The session begins on January 4.
get more stories like this via email
SALT LAKE CITY -- In the push toward carbon-free energy production, some cities in Utah and nearby states are considering a new type of nuclear …
Health and Wellness
TAMPA, Fla. -- Move United's USA Wheelchair Football League is expanding from four cities to nine, including Tampa, to give athletes with …
CRAIG, Colo. -- What would it look like if one in four households in the country was solar-powered? A new report from the "30 Million Solar Homes" …
Health and Wellness
DES MOINES, Iowa -- People across the Midwest, including Iowans, have dealt with a series of heat waves this summer. Health experts say hotter …
NEW YORK -- Over 10,000 New York and New Jersey front-line airport workers will get health insurance as part of new contract negotiations that come at…
INDIANAPOLIS -- Voting-rights advocates applaud this week's federal appeals-court decision to prevent Indiana from purging some voters from the rolls …
BOSTON -- A new survey finds widespread public support up and down the East Coast for protecting right whales from getting tangled up in fishing gear…
CARSON CITY, Nev. - A bill just introduced in the U.S, Senate would help thousands of species stay off the Endangered Species List - including …